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Delia sells out of $10 lots as small Alberta village looks to attract citizens

07/14/2015 01:54 EDT | Updated 07/14/2016 05:59 EDT
The village of Delia, Alta., recently had a real estate boom.

The buying frenzy lasted just two days after the municipality decided to try to entice residents with $10 lots — ready and waiting for new homes — in order to cash in on the tax dollars that would surely follow.

"I wish they had done it when I bought my place out there," said Jeff Collins, a former CBC radio host and village councillor who still owns property in Delia.

The village was inspired to offer the serviced lots for a steal after sales faltered.

"The first few of them that they offered up people bought them, a lot of retired farmers who wanted to live close to their farms and families, but in town," said Collins.

"Then it kind of stalled, and it was kind of like a hockey player with missing front teeth. You had a lovely house on a lovely lot, and then you'd have three or four of these lots that were completely empty with the real estate signs on them."

The village is hoping those who bought the lots will build their houses and remain, adding much needed citizens to the local roster.

Purchasers were required to put down $1,000 with the promise of a $990 refund once they complete their new houses. 

Hollowed out

But why would anyone want to move to Delia?

"It has all the services. It's an amazing little town, it's like a lot of fading agricultural centres. What's been left behind is two restaurants, a general store, a post office, a school, which I thought would attract parents by droves," said Collins, who also highlighted its proximity to Calgary, Drumheller and Hanna.

"It's a good little town. It's like a lot of rural Alberta, it's just getting smaller for no good reason."

And for those who missed out on the lot sales in Delia, Collins thinks there's still hope to get a piece of really affordable real estate in Alberta, and recommends people pay attention.

"A lot of smaller places have their eyes on this experiment," he said. "If you missed the big sale in Delia, take a look around it."

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